ABSTRACT

This essay argues how Utopian thought can serve as a useful method for analyzing the plays of William Shakespeare, using As You Like It as an example. As a pastoral comedy, As You Like It features the Forest of Arden as a setting that is described as fostering values that are associated with the utopian visions of the sixteenth century. However, while characters such as Duke Senior celebrate the culture of Arden's brave new world, the behaviors of his men and the antics of Jacques and Touchstone call the utopian status of the forest into question. In this essay, I examine very carefully how Shakespeare dramatizes the problems facing the utopian imagination during the Elizabethan era through the conflicts of each character's attitude.

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